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Features | Experience of the Divinity of Bhagavan by Devotees | Group III | Mr. S.S. Prakasa Rao

Mr. S.S. Prakasa Rao
W3-A9, Prasanthi Nilayam – 515134
Mobile: 94406-67830

Mr. S.S. Prakasa Rao (86), who retired as General manager in a leading Tobacco Company, relates a few of his experiences of the Divinity of Bhagavan in his own words.

‘My wife Mrs. Indira Ratnam’s aunt Mrs. Manikyamma was an ardent devotee of Bhagavan. She used to reside at Prasanthi Nilayam. In 1966, she took my wife to Prasanthi Nilayam along with her. My wife returned enchanted by Baba and told my mother, ‘one must have Darshan of Baba at least once in one’s life’. My mother began to press me to take her to Prasanthi Nilayam.

So we started in a car to Prasanthi Nilayam in the same year. When we stopped to fill in petrol at a bunk at Anantapur, the boy at the pump asked me, ‘where are you going, sir?’

‘Puttaparthi’ I replied.

‘You appear to be respectable people’, the boy remarked, ‘why are you heading to such places? The Baba is a womanizer and what not’.

I asked him to shut up, and proceeded on our way to Puttaparthi.

In those days, there was no compound wall for Prasanthi Nilayam, but barbed wire fencing. There was a well to draw water and a shed for accommodation of devotees.

‘Is Swami in?’ I asked some person in the street on arrival at Puttaparthi.

‘No!’ he replied, ‘Swami is out of station’.

On hearing it, we were crestfallen. But soon we came to know that our informant was misinformed. Swami was very much at Prasanthi Nilayam to our great relief. We had waited for Him under the trees. Swami came on to the balcony and asked Mrs. Manikyamma, ‘why have you come again? Anything (important)?’

‘Our relatives have come for your Darshan, Swami!’ she replied.

In the afternoon, Swami called my mother for interview and we all went in with her.

‘How are you?’ Swami enquired after my mother.

‘Fine, Swami!’ my mother replied. She then fell on the feet of Bhagavan and did not get up for about 20 minutes. Swami asked her to get up once or twice but she did not. The robe of Swami was getting wet with tears of my mother.

‘When you were in the hotel at Bangalore 3 years ago, I was at Whitefields’, Swami told me, ‘the hotel fellow suggested to you to go for my Darshan, but you did not’.

I was startled. How did He know? It was true. I did not show much interest to go to Swami even though He was at Whitefields.

‘It does not matter’, Swami told us, ‘I will take care of you’.

After coming out, I asked my mother, ‘why did you stick to Swami’s feet like that?’ ‘I saw in Him six year old Bala Krishna’ she replied, ‘I simply could not leave the enchanting feet’.

When we were due to leave, Swami asked, ‘leaving?’

‘Yes, Swami’ we replied, ‘after two days’.

We came to know then that He was going to Anantapur for inauguration of the women’s college. We, too, wanted to go. He was to leave in a new car. Ours was only an old fiat. Mrs. Manikyamma said, ‘keep your car on the road blocking it’. Though I did not like to do so, I did so under her pressure. Swami’s car came and halted as our car was blocking the way.

‘What is the matter?’ Swami asked.

‘We wanted to have one more Darshan’, Mrs. Manikyamma blurted out, ‘we hear that Swami is going to Anantapur. May we follow?’

‘Well! You may come’ Swami told us, ‘but blocking the road like this is not good. It could be dangerous’.

Swami’s car raced forward as we removed our car. We, too, followed. He was camping in the bungalow of Mr. Naidu, the Principal of the Engineering College. We went there and waited under the trees in the premises. Swami saw us and came out into the verandah and called us.

‘I have to make a call to Dr. Bhagavantham about the Vice-President’s programme’, He told us, ‘I will call you tomorrow at 8 a.m.’

No sooner did He go in than He began to talk, ‘Bhagavantham….’, Swami was heard saying. We wondered. In those days, it was difficult to get a call through - much more so to get the P.P. We thought it a miracle that Swami had got the connection the moment He had dialed, and also got Dr. Bhagavantham answering on the other side.

Next morning we went with garlands, coconut, etc as if we had gone to a temple. In those days, Swami allowed people to garland Him and break coconuts. We garlanded Swami, broke the coconut and began giving harati with camphor.

‘Be careful’ Swami told us feigning seriousness, ‘you could burn my hair’.

In those days, His hair was three times what it is at present.

After that we used to come now and then to Prasanthi Nilayam. My sons Hari Prem (Inter) and Shyam Sundar (SSLC) used to move close to Bhagavan. Bhagavan used to give them small jobs. ‘Arrange all these saris and dhotis neatly in these almirahs’, Swami used to tell them and they used to do it with enthusiasm. Swami used to give us at least one or two interviews in a year. When we went to Prasanthi Nilayam in 1970, Swami asked, ‘have you come to Brindavan?’

‘No, Swami’ we replied.

‘Come there’ He said, ‘I am going’.

We did not know when Swami had left. We started in our car. There was heavy rain throughout our journey, which had to move at a slow pace taking six hours and a half.

‘You have come?’ Swami accosted us at Brindavan, ‘hope you haven’t been inconvenienced by rain?’

‘No, Swami!’ we said, ‘we reached safely’.

Mr. Ramabrahmam, the caretaker at Brindavan, was from our village. When he saw us waiting under the trees, he asked, ‘why are you waiting here?’ ‘Swami said He would call us’, we replied, ‘we are waiting for the call. It is already 3 p.m.’

‘I will remind Him’, Mr. Ramabrahmam said.

We learnt later that he did remind Swami about us.

‘No need for your recommendation’, Swami told him; ‘I know they had come’.

He called us in at 5 p.m. Some more were also there. Air Commodore Malhotra was gasping far breath because of breathing problem. Swami materialized vibhuti for him and asked him to swallow. Instantly he was cured of his problem.

Then Swami called some lecturers in and enquired about the marks secured by each of the students. In all cases where the marks secured were fewer than 95%, Swami took them to task.

They did not expect this. They thought Swami would be happy as the students got good marks. But for a perfectionist like Swami, 80, 85 or even 90 is a poor level.

‘If they are your children, will you leave them like this?’ Swami reprimanded, ‘because they are my children, you don’t care!’

We were touched when He said ‘my children’. It indicated His love of students.

After that we had a personal interview.

‘Our nephew met with a jeep accident’, my wife began.

‘I know’, said Swami, ‘he was thrown out over 20 feet. I had to catch him and save his life. He will be all right in three months’.

After the interview, we were coming out.

Swami called us again.

‘When are you leaving?’ He asked, ‘and by which route?’

I explained.

‘No!’ said Swami, ‘go via Tirupati’.

On our return journey, there was heavy rain. While we were nearing Chittoor, we had to stop as a causeway was overflowing. We had to divert our car via Chandragiri. At Gudur again the traffic came to a halt as a stream in flood was overflowing a causeway. We had to halt there for two days. Luckily, we got accommodation in a guesthouse of the R&B Department. Some wayside hotelier used to prepare food for us.

As some vehicles were crossing the causeway on the third day, we ventured into the water overflowing the road engaging some coolies to push our vehicle. Somehow, it rolled out of the road and water came in. In the beginning, I put some clothes etc in the silencer pipe and sealed it so that water would not get in. We somehow reached the other side, cleaned the engine, etc to the extent possible and got ready to move on. I was apprehensive if the engine would start at all. I prayed to Swami and started. To my delight it started.

On reaching our home at Guntur safely, I learnt that roads on the alternate route we wanted to take were still blocked owing to rains and floods. We realized then why Swami had called us and directed us to go via Tirupati. But this was not the end of Sai miracle. Much astounding thing lay latent. I sent the car to the garage for complete repairs, change of oils, and change of damaged seats, etc. After a check up, the mechanic asked, ‘from where were you coming, sir!’

‘From Bangalore, via Tirupati’, I replied, ‘there was heavy rain, you know’.

‘You came in this car, sir, such long distance?’ he wondered, ‘the brakes are not functioning. How did you come? Did you not have any problem?’

‘None’, I said.

The mechanic asked his boy to go under the vehicle and check if the master oil kit was in place.

‘It is missing altogether’ the boy shouted after examining it.

‘You journeyed 220 km without master oil kit?’ the mechanic wondered, ‘it must have unfastened when you got it cleaned after crossing the stream near Gudur. Without that kit brakes won’t function!’

I was stunned. Swami brought us safely over the long stretch of 220 km of the highway without brakes! How miraculous! Incredible, indeed! I thanked Swami for His love and compassion.

In 1972, I resigned my job as my junior was promoted over me. The management tried to cajole me into withdrawing my resignation but I was adamant. My wife was worried about our future as I was without a job. We went to Prasanthi Nilayam.

‘He will get a better job, don’t worry’, Swami assured her, ‘have you visited Shirdi, the place of my earlier incarnation?’

‘No, Swami!’

‘Go and see once’, Swami told us. He materialized a ring for me, ‘when you attain some spiritual level, it will come back to me’. It was with me till 2000 and then disappeared mysteriously at Puttaparthi. Later I shifted to Puttaparthi.

We went to Shirdi and had Darshan as instructed by Swami. There I met an old Avadhuta who was a contemporary of Baba. We asked him about my future.

‘Give a letter to Baba’, he told us, ‘I will ask Baba’.

We gave a letter. He put it on the feet of Baba and prayed.

‘Don’t worry - Baba tells’, he told us, ‘you will get a better job’.

I could not believe; Avadhuta here quoting Shirdi Sai repeated what Swami had said at Prasanthi Nilayam. The company I had left was the best in the field in terms of pay, perks and facilities. Local companies could not give me a better placement.

In spite of it, a local company offered me the job of General Manager with a good pay and perks. The person who floated that company was in a house rented @ Rs.60 per month at that time. We secured such heavy profits that he had become the owner of many houses now including 4 or 5 flats in Hyderabad! I served in that Company for 19 years when I had come out on my own voluntarily to shift to Puttaparthi for good in 2000.

Experiences of Divinity Bhagavan blessed us with are innumerable. He used to put a piece of paper in my son Shyama Sunder’s pocket and say, ‘Take this money and have a safari stitched for you’. My son used to laugh and say, ‘what Swami! Do you think I am a baby to take this slip of paper for currency?’ He used to come and relate the story to his mother. ‘Where is that paper Swami gave you?’ his mother would ask. He would put his hand into his pocket to take out the slip. Out would come a bundle of currency notes! Rs.800; Rs.1000 like that.

Once my sons took my car without my knowledge and went to Vijayawada with friends to see some film marked ‘Adults only’. A year after that we went to Prasanthi Nilayam. Swami narrated the whole incident. I said, ‘impossible, Swami! I keep the key of the car in one locker, out of their reach’. ‘Oh, they are too clever’, Swami said, ‘they joined the wires and ignited, and started the car. You don’t know’. Then Swami told the names of their friends who had gone with them that day; how they managed to get tickets when the booking clerk refused to sell tickets to boys as the film was only for adults. Amazing!

My second son Shyama Sunder appeared for his degree examination. When the results came, he failed. But he distributed sweets to friends and gave a packet of sweets to his teacher. None of us bothered to look at the results in newspapers. He appeared for September Exam without our knowledge and passed. When we went to Prasanthi Nilayam, Swami narrated all that had happened at our back with minute details.

Swami fixed the marriage of my son Hari Prem with the daughter of Mr. Satyamurthy, a devotee of Swami. Swami performed the marriage at Puttaparthi. He materialized mangalasutram and gave it to my son to tie around the neck of my daughter-in-law.

Even though Swami was doing everything spending every pie Himself, we had to observe some formalities on our side. My wife was keen on giving new clothes to many of our close relatives. I was hesitant because of the heavy expenses. My wife and I had heated exchanges on that issue in our bedroom. Finally we brought new clothes and gave to all important relatives as desired by my wife. When we came to Puttaparthi for the wedding, Swami called my wife and me. He gave her a silk sari and said, ‘I got this specially woven for you. Out of 28 silk saris you have, there is none with this colour or border!’ Then he said, ‘you should know how to respect and handle your husband. What is the use of bickering? He is your god in person’. Then He turned to me and said, ‘you are working in a responsible position. Should you not have skill to deal smoothly and lovingly with your wife? Learn to be pleasant and make domestic environment happy’. We were surprised how Swami could know what had happened in our bedroom at Guntur. We ourselves had no idea about the number of silk saris my wife had. After we went back to Guntur, we counted her silk saris. There were exactly 28 – neither one less nor one more! There was no sari with the same border or colour as the sari Swami had got specially woven for her.

Mr. Sankaranarayana was the General Manager of a Tobacco Company at Guntur. He had a cardiac problem, and had to undergo bye-pass surgery at Hyderabad in 1983. Before going to Hyderabad, he wanted to go to Prasanthi Nilayam and have blessings of Bhagavan. He started with his aged mother and wife, and requested us to go with them. As I had some work, I sent my wife. They all went in their company car and had Darshan of Bhagavan.

Swami asked my wife, ‘when did you come?’

‘In the morning, Swami!’ She answered.

‘When are you leaving?’ Swami asked.


‘Go via Ongole’ Swami told them, gave padanamaskar and moved on.

Therefore, they were coming via Ongole. When they were nearing Podili, the front wheel axle of the car gave way. The car turned on its back and moved up to fifty yards with high momentum on the road before it stopped due to friction on the road. In such cases, there was a possibility of fire breaking out, but nothing of that sort happened. All of them were safe but for some minor injuries to the driver and another person.

Sankaranarayana, his wife, his mother and my wife escaped without a scratch. But the car was reduced to hopeless wreck. No body would believe on seeing the car that anyone traveling in it survived. After a while, the shock of the accident began to tell upon the heart patient, Sankaranarayana. He felt some uneasiness. Meanwhile a bus was coming that way. All got into it. They stopped the bus at Cheemakurthi and physically lifted him to a local doctor. ‘You brought him late’, the doctor said, ‘he died half an hour back’.

Had this accident occurred in the other alternate route they wanted to take, there would have been no help. Because they were on the Ongole road where I had worked for long, they could send information to Guntur and get two cars from the Company of Sankaranarayana and shift his body to Guntur. That is why, we thought, Swami had wanted them to go via Ongole.

In 1983, I was going on official work to Nandigama. My cashier came to me and said, ‘we have to disburse Rs. 8 lakhs to farmers in that area. I have some urgent work. But I will keep the money in your car. Just hand it over to our office people there. They will distribute it and send receipts with you’. I did not like this cash- carrying business, but finally agreed. So I took the cash and went there. The farmers did not turn up that day.

The local official said, ‘sir! Please take back the cash’. So I was returning. When we reached Guntur nearing our office around 1:30 p.m., our car dashed against another car. Our car made two summersaults and fell in a ditch. All of us lost consciousness. Some people took us to the hospital. I was discharged, as I sustained no injury. My driver sprained his hand. But for that we were all saved. I returned home. Our Managing Director and cashier came to see me. After the usual enquiries were over, the cashier asked me for receipts. Till then, the cash aspect escaped my attention. We all rushed to the spot. Just then, the insurance people were loading our car, which was badly damaged, into a lorry. We went there in time and retrieved the cash, which was intact owing to Bhagavan’s grace.

In September 1992 or 93, I don’t remember, I was gong to Tirupati by Tirumala Express to attend a marriage. The bride’s party was also travelling in the same train. When the train was nearing Kavali, I wanted to go to bathroom, but tarried for a few minutes. Then, suddenly, I heard a big sound. Our train met with an accident. A ticket inspector who had gone to the bathroom was stuck inside and died of suffocation before he could be rescued. Had I gone into the bathroom, I would have met with that fate. As I tarried, he went in my place and died. Luckily I was saved owing to Swami’s grace. I was chanting ‘Sai Ram’. Finally I was rescued from the carriage through a window. The bride’s party was also safe. I could find a telephone booth in Kavali and phone to my sons that I was safe. I could do so before they heard the news of the accident on the AIR and started for me. Later, I could proceed by a special train to Tirupati, attend the marriage and return safely to my house.’

-- Mr. S.S. Prakasa Rao

(As narrated to Mr. B. Parvatala Rao at Prasanthi Nilayam on 22.04.2005)